Enjoy this 16 track mixtape from Rachel Kerr, consisting of covers with varying degrees of sampling from records including Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’, Aliyah’s ‘More Than a Woman’, Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, The Commodores ‘Nightshift’, Labrinth’s ‘Express Yourself’, Brownstone’s ‘If You Love Me’, as well as others like Olu Maintain’s ‘Yahooze’, Tiwa Savage’s ‘Key to the City’, ‘Murder She Wrote’, Drake’s ‘One Dance’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’, and so forth. The mixtape also features strong baseline on a good number of tracks and marvelous ‘hmmms’ and growls from Kerr.
There are a variety of themes including self confidence, identity, womanhood, love, marriage, forgiveness, as well as breaking out of the mould. There are also heavier themes like race and defying judgement. She also talks about the tendency of ladies to lose their identity while in a relationship with the opposite sex and reminds us that we are worthy of so much more. God runs through must of the tracks, with Rachel displaying a goosebump infusing understanding of who God is. In ‘Nothing Can Stop Me’, she bursts this awesome revelation on the Trinity surrounding her. This mixtape is an amazing self esteem builder for sure.
It is pretty clear that Rachel Kerr wrote the songs herself, with her tickly blunt British style, which I think is pretty cool; for example she goes ‘At least, be polite. You’re not nice, you’re rude’. I’d also say ‘touche’ to her for not using lyrical cliches like ‘head to toe’, but saying ‘head to feet’ instead. I also fancy how ‘Unboxed’ is a narrative into certain aspects of her life, including her experience, with people expecting her to fit into a mold, which clearly isn’t her and defying judgment from people who see her as an overdoer.
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I love how she rewrites the songs that may have negative words in them and she turns them around. This has been my school of thought for a good while. No song is useless. All you need to do is change the lyrics. I’m a bit concerned about certain lines amounting to iffy confessions though.
Vocally, Rachel Kerr is excellent, channeling a lot of Beyonce-esque fierceness into her lyric soprano voice especially in the tracks ‘Exchange’ and ‘Accept Ya’self’. She also has a very wide range, going all kinds of deliciously low in tracks like ‘Say It’. She also goes raspy like Emily King, and has a bit of the Destiny’s Child flavour in ‘Exchange’. And I love how she starts ‘Won’t Hurt’ on a ‘gurrrl’ note!
My winning song is Rachel’s cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ which goes by the name ‘Love Reign’. She leaves this king-piece ballad with a tear worthy violin intro, glorious trumpet infusions and touches of the Jackson 5 flavour available only for download. Every other track is available on her website, so if you listen from there, you’d miss the best track. You gotta download it all…lol
Rachel Kerr’s musical heritage is spectacular. I remember when Pastor Poju explained that as a minister, you don’t just start ministering out of the blue. You’ve got to find your river. Whose message are you completing? Who started what you are finishing? Who are those that were there before you? This mixtape, though not having the enveloping Godsy ambience that her ‘Glory’ track released in April had from top to bottom, from this album you totally understand that Rachel is such a deep child of God. She has a huge sense of self and what God has called her to do, and she’s not afraid to put in the work.
This album is laced with so many genres including her carribean heritage, dancehall, calypso, gospel, soul, hip hop, etc. We should call her Aunty Rachel Kerr…lol
This album is definitely a great vocalising tool, with its singer and songwriter a voice coach herself!
Follow her handle @singercise on instagram
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#MusicReview: ‘Glory’ by Rachel Kerr